What is the final seminar?

You will present and explain your project and your findings in a public seminar. The advisor will help you schedule a time and place. The other Bioenergy and BRR students, your friends and family will probably want to attend. Afterwards, the audience will leave and your mentors and the Bioenergy Director will ask you questions. You will get a letter grade for your seminar.

I’m afraid of writing a thesis—what help and support can I get?

BRR 403 is a class that meets every term on Mondays at 5 pm (since students write their theses every term). The Director provides help, writing hints and support. Students exchange the pieces of their theses, as they finish them, for peer review and editing. Getting together with the other students gives you lots of ideas about how to get over your writing hurdles.

What is required for the thesis?

The thesis should be written in a professional style; as if you were going to submit it for publication in whatever journal or outlet experts in your field usually use. Find an appropriate format from your research mentor. You will be given guidelines in BRR 403. The thesis is likely to be 10-15 pages long with figures and tables. The exact format will vary by field. You will get a letter grade for your thesis.

Can I get money to support my research?

Yes! Every student in the Bioenergy Minor program can receive $1,000, per year, to support their research. This money can go to your research mentor to pay for equipment and supplies, or it can be used for student wages, or whatever is needed to complete the research portion of the minor. To receive the money, you will need to talk with your mentor, discuss how best to use the money, and then submit a proposal to the Bioenergy advisor that is signed by your mentor. Some money is also available to support summer internships, travel and the like.

What do I need to do during my research project?

During the first term that you sign up for research you will write a two-page research proposal which gives the background for the project, explains the research question, lays out the proposed approach, and states something about why the project is important and its possible impact. Your research mentor will help you with this, and once you are both satisfied, you will hand it in to the Bioenergy Advisor.

I’m in Honors College. How does this minor fit with Honors College requirements?

Your bioenergy research and thesis will fulfill the Honors College research and thesis requirements. Meet with the Bioenergy advisor and your Honors College advisor to iron out the details. You will be responsible for following the specific Honors College thesis format requirements and due dates.

Does my internship count as a research project?

In general, the research project must involve asking a research question and then collecting data to answer the question. Although these are very broadly defined, and vary a lot among different fields and disciplines, an internship may or may not fit this definition. Talk to the Bioenergy adviser and the director.

How do I find a research project?

Meet with the Advisor. He will help you focus your interests. We have lists of potential mentors and projects (academic, industry—many at OSU, some outside). We are very open to your ideas as well. Once you select a few projects and potential mentors, we will help you contact them, send them your resume, and set up meetings. If you have a project and mentor outside of OSU, we will make sure you also have an on-campus secondary mentor. Visit Find a Mentor for more details.

I’ve already taken, or plan to take, a lot of courses that relate to bioenergy. Can I count them towards the Bioenergy Minor?

Yes, as long as they fulfill the intention of the Bioenergy Minor, which is to provide you with additional breadth and depth in three areas of bioenergy: technical, environmental, and social/economic/political. The advisor must approve your electives with the director.

I’m a senior; what should I be doing?

In your senior year you should do the following:

  • Meet with the adviser to make sure you are on track to compete all the requirements by your graduation
  • Finishing your research
  • Take BRR 406 (winter) and BRR 407 (spring)
  • Take 3 credits of BRR 403 (Thesis) during whatever term you plan to write your thesis